Capital Stage abandons nanotech fund

Capital Stage, the German-listed technology investment firm, has decided to withdraw from the sponsorship of a recently launched nanotechnology fund, Capital Stage Nanotech Invest.

Capital Stage, the German-listed technology investment firm, has decided to withdraw from the sponsorship of a recently launched nanotechnology fund, Capital Stage Nanotech Invest.

When the fund was launched in March 2002, Capital Stage and a number of strategic partners agreed to E20m of a planned E100m total.

“Capital Stage sees no hope of an improvement in the economy and appetite for risk among its investors community so it has decided to halt its efforts,” the company said in a statement.

The fund, which has so far received around E10m in capital commitments, will continue to be managed by a small Zurich-based team, led by Berndt Samsinger. “We are currently negotiating with a few groups for a new sponsor for the fund and hope to come to a conclusion in a couple of weeks,” he said, citing April as a realistic date for a first closing.

Samsinger sees a lot of activity in European nanotechnology and real investment opportunities emerging. “Prospects for the industry couldn’t be better. But as you know, fundraising isn’t easy. What we have learned is that the response from corporate investors were far better than from our financial investors.”

Some observers are less optimistic about the prospects for the sector. Says Matt Hocker, executive director of the private equity funds group at UBS Warburg. “In the current market, there seem to be very few prospects for the nanotechnology sector. Although research into the sector continues to make progress, there seems to be very little commercial viability in the short to medium term.”

Capital Stage is a listed financial services company that provides equity investment advice in Germany and Switzerland. It currently manages 21 high-tech investments through its wholly owned investment company, of which two are nanotechology-based investments.